An echoed clash against sheets of metal, low-end, blown-speaker fuzz, giggling New Wave synth and groggy robotic repetition of the phrase “cigarette lighter” over the course of four minutes. Japanese Telecom’s intro track (aptly titled “Cigarette Lighter”) only hints at the subtle sense of humor and minimalist magic found throughout Blueprint, the second installment in the Comin From Tha D series put out by West Bloomfield’s Intuit-Solar, featuring artists off that label, Ersatz Audio, Jive Electro/Throw and others.
The continuous mix compilation CD flows freely from retrolectronic Atari sound tracks to atmospheric beat scapes to “third-generation” techno to found-sound collages to ghetto-tech. In one of the more dramatic transitions, the CD skips flawlessly from Adult.’s skittish and spotless “Minors at Nite” to Paris the Black Fu’s mysterious and expansive “Fogdust vs. Detroit.” Then Keith Tucker’s “It’s Time” steps up the tempo just a bit, preparing the listener for the two power-booty tracks to follow, DJ Godfather’s “Whatchulookinat” and DJ Assault’s “Hoes.” Excellent selections, these two are so sped up and instantly and immensely pleasurable to the eardrums that even Twiggy would jiggle. Then Aaron Carl drops his danceable “No No,” which provides the perfect progression to Detroit Grand Pubahs’ subdued and enigmatic “If Snow Was Black.” Then Andy Toth (one-half of the Pubahs) steps forward with “Murder Scene,” an intensely visual sound scape that cuts in sonic clips from a murder scene, a police officer calling in for an ambulance, the horrified crowd noises. Perspects offers another visual track, but in a completely different way, more along the lines of Super Balls bouncing around a black-and-white checkered kitchen, off of a whirring refrigerator, inside the stove, knocking the phone off the hook. Le Car steps in with the sound track to a music schizophrenic’s brain. It’s the music that plays behind those placid eyes, that empty far-off gaze. It’s the sound that rushes through his veins and explodes inside her synapses, an addictive and torturous pleasure almost worse than the voices.
What draws the compilation together is that each track includes a little humor, a little seriousness and a little mystery all sewn together with clean lines, clever patterns and enough metaphor and referencing to keep your brain buzzing along with your body. The secret: A little goes a long way.
Melissa Giannini is the Metro Times staff music writer. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.